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We Spent $5000 on a Product Hunt Ad. Here Are the Numbers.

Product Hunt referral traffic has performed well for Standard Resume over the last few years, so we decide to look into advertising there. Nobody we spoke to had experience with PH ads, and we couldn't find anything online, so we decided to take a chance.

To help the Indie Hackers community decide if PH ads are a good fit for their company, we're sharing our numbers from the campaign.

Cost: $5000 (fixed)
CPM: $20 (fixed)
Impressions: 250,000 (fixed)
Clickthrough rate (CTR): 0.25%
Cost per click (CPC): $8.12
Clicks: 616
Landing page conversion rate: 23%
Paying customers: 0

Let me know if anything else would be helpful in the comments.

  1. 19

    My brain sent me an error each time I tried to I understand this $5000 ads spending for 0 customers.sorry for you man 😔

  2. 6

    Oh wow, what a beautiful looking product. Your landing page looks amazing. The product is really neat too. Tried it and the whole experience was high class.

    I'm honestly shocked. I mean look at that CPC. $8 a click?! Seems like producthunt ads can only make sense for products with LTV of hundreds of dollars. Might as well run LinkedIn ads. Won't cost less but might get you in front of the right people.

    Anyway, that $300 I blew on Google Ads for zero sales doesn't look too bad now. Thanks for the cautionary tale 🙏

  3. 4

    Ouch! Sorry to hear you didn't get any revenue. Are all product hunt ads fixed at $5k?

    Fixed advertising is very unappealing for me, especially in the early stages of a product, it's too much of a risk when you can throw as little as a $5 at other platforms with a much bigger audience and presumably better targetting.

    1. 3

      $5k was the min spend. I now agree with you :)

  4. 3

    Every-time I read about product hunt, my conclusion is the same. Product Hunt is good to get eyeballs on-your product but it doesn't mean it coverts well, in some cases not at all. It's plays off a false positive in a sense.

    In this particular case I don't think it's a demographic issue. It's the issue of how many products does PH think its users will actually commit to purchasing. I'd be curious to see the numbers of actual conversions per featured product.

  5. 3

    Ouch - thanks. In general, paid ads on general non targeted platforms is not a great idea haha.

    PH is a great example for this. Even launching in PH is general not very successful because people are not necessarily searching for your product, just browsing.

    SEO is harder but much more rewarding long term.

  6. 3

    Your product is great and I think your landing page does the job.

    The ad campaign is awful. Perhaps the audience on PH are not within your radar.

    What would be your next move? @rileyt

    1. 1

      Thanks, @felix12777. We're going to put more effort into content creation and try LinkedIn ads next.

      1. 5

        Please don't do LinkedIn ads! You won't make them profitable unless your LTV is in the thousands.

        That being said, LinkedIn can be a good channel for you if you take a different approach. Try selecting a targeted audience of people looking for a job and reach out to them. You can even do this at scale using a tool like https://phantombuster.com/phantombuster?category=linkedin

        And if you drive them straight to your LinkedIn resume builder, you got a chance for really high conversion rates.

        1. 2

          Echo @kacper

          You’ve a great product but seems like you still unsure about the characteristics of your customers @rileyt

          Ask yourself:

          • How often would you create / update a resume?
          • Once someone get hired, when will be the next time the person need a resume?

          I’m unsure if LinkedIn is good for you.

          If you already have $5,000 to spend on PH, I’d hire a copywriter to create a few longtail content to win a spot in organic traffic.

  7. 3

    Very interesting. Product Hunt ads were the worst marketing investment we made last year as well (by far).

    1. 2

      What was the best?

    2. 1

      Good to know we aren't alone 🙃

  8. 2

    The first thing that jumped out at me is the CPC, which is very high. Secondly no conversions. I wish the best for you on your next campaigns and thanks for posting this it’s super helpful. We’re all trying to optimize spend, looking for new channels, but without this kinda feedback we’re throwing darts in the dark. Another thought is, I don’t know your product, but product hunt is for entrepreneurs looking for new productivity tools, so why would this group want a next gen resume tool? Forgive me if I’m mischaracterizing your product

    1. 1

      They target software devs, which seem fair to assume hang out on product hunt. I'm curious about where the idea that product hunt is for entrepreneurs comes from? Not trying to challenge it, just actually curious cause that's never been my assumption. Always assumed it was a place for indiehackers / marketers / devs.

      1. 4

        Kinda, to me software devs would be on stackexchange/overflow, or Dev.to, if by devs you mean people who do that as a job, for someone else, not in an entrepreneurial capacity. Indie hackers are entrepreneurs. It’s like “solopreneur”. I’d propose that the marketers and devs are on PH, either launching or looking for some sort of “productivity tool” I’m overly generalizing as I’m sure there are people that are in the categories that you mention. I identify as an entrepreneur so maybe it’s my personal bias.

        1. 1

          thanks man. My target market is specifically "tech entrepreneurs" so I'm looking for any insight I can get. I think you're mostly spot-on. Also I never thought of reaching an audience on stackoverflow, good idea 👍

          1. 1

            Yeah, I took a look. Love it. The design is great. As, I’m Canadian too so big ups to the North. A bit of intel that might be helpful. There’s a company called Remote (https://remote.com/ )that does Really cool HR solutions for remote first companies. They are currently experimenting with their job board functions and offerings. Might be a good play to form a partnership with them.

            1. 1

              I think you got the wrong guy: I'm from France and running a Logo Design company, don't see the relationship with hr solutions (or maybe I just don't get it). But we can still be friends 😃

              1. 2

                Dolt 🤦🏾 Hahahah, sorry.

  9. 2

    Ouch that final statement in bold hurts. What are you going to do next?

  10. 2

    Did I read that correctly? $5000 and 0 customers = $0 back? 😬 Sorry to see that :(
    If I were you I'd try newsletters where Junior Developers hang out. They need an outstanding resume IMO. Did you try that?

    1. 1

      I second this suggestion. Use Hecto and Letterwell to search for newsletters with an audience that matches yours.

  11. 2

    Damn... What a crash landing.

    Did you analyse or speculate the cause? Perhaps just the wrong demographic?

    1. 2

      I think most of the organic PH traffic we get is people who searched "resume", or something similar, so they have higher intent than someone just browsing another product who saw our ad.

      The CTR was crazy low, so it's possible that the PH audience just doesn't interact with sponsored content. The 0.25% CTA lead to an $8 CPC, which is high, even if we converted at our usual rates. Hopefully, we at least got some brand awareness from the 250k impressions.

      1. 1

        This is extremely interesting, I wrote an article on such channels on IH several weeks ago, and it seems PH is getting into this category...

        For eg, often when I'm looking for a certain type of product, I find that going and searching on PH gives me better results than going on Google...Anyone else doing the same? Seems that PH is turning into a product search engine slowly but steadily.

      2. 1

        This comment was deleted 8 months ago.

  12. 1

    ouch, sorry to hear. I'm curious if anybody else has had similar experiences though. I imagine it could be a demographic thing- everyone on the website is probably an entrepreneur or in marketing and may simply be not in the market for resume help. Either way, I was considering PH ads and stumbled across this, so knowing that the minimum spend is so high and that there are clearly risks involved is kind of a turn off. Also, I don't get why newer platforms are charging so high for their CPMs. Their eyeballs are generally less valuable than Google or Facebook, not more.

  13. 1

    Wow. Do you think FB advertising would have had a higher conversion rate?

  14. 1

    Hey Riley, thanks for sharing your experience with us.
    I'm not an expert in marketing, but here is my take on it:

    • Your landing page is wonderful. I really like the design, it's super lean. However, I don't see any specific landing page dedicated to the people that would like to work in startups (re the positioning)

    • Remember why people are coming on ProductHunt. They are entrepreneurs that want to create their own product / discover new product for their projects. Their main fear is coming back to their old life where they were working for someone else.

    As such, seeing an ad to reminds them "see you soon in the corporate world" can appear frustrating for them. That's IMO the reason why people didn't click on your ad.

    For the rest, your product looks amazing, and I'm sure you will find your audience. Best luck to your project.

  15. 1

    Thanks for sharing these results! What targeting options do you have with PH? If none, any idea how they determine who to show the ads to?

  16. 1

    There's a few resume builder apps out there, and this seems to be one of the better ones.

    Even so, I have no idea why anybody would want this, or pay for it. I got all the jobs I ever had with a shitty Times New Roman resume I made in MS Word. The last time I used a built in template in Pages on my Mac and it was a step up.

    Also, it's priced per month. What is the justification for that? Job hunting is something that people do in brief spurts periodically and they update their resume just beforehand.

    I just don't see the value here. If the market really wants your skills, you could smear your faeces on a sheet of A4 paper and still get offers.

    I apologise for being harsh. If you are making money from this, fair play to you. I must not be the target market. Apparently people want things like this because I often see resume builders on Show HN posts.

  17. 1

    Wow, that's a hard lesson. Paid advertising is not a silver bullet and often is a very harsh lesson particularly in the b2c market. Google PPC would likely perform better as you can engage a heavily targeted approach.

    Product Hunt has its place but the paid marketing users would need to be from a very specific b2b and unique perspective.
    This is a very valuable lesson. As we say in life, live and learn.

  18. 1

    Wow. That's not good at all. Thank you for sharing and, possibly, saving others from achieving the same results.

  19. 1

    @rileyt did you have a "landing page" set up specifically to capture the incoming traffic from PH?

  20. 1

    5k for 0 paying customers. I'm sorry for you :(

    Perhaps, the ads gave you some visibility to some website that mention you. Many people are using PH as press release, have you track if some websites linked your website after yours ads compaign ?

    Also, how long it takes you to got the 250k impressions ? hours ?days?weeks?

  21. 1

    Maybe I don't get it, but PH has never struck me as a good place to spend money or even promote product. It just feels 100% wrong.

  22. 1

    Feel for you. When you say “landing page conversion rate: 23%” does that refer to your normal rate?

  23. 1

    My condolences. I hope some of the converted visitors will become paying users at some point.

    My guess is that the PH crowd is ad-blind, so taking money for impressions is a robbery.

    Also, suggesting that a PH visitor might be looking for a job is like showing PornHub ads in a monastery.

  24. 1

    Well that clickthrough rate is extremly low. I would kill that ad after probably $50-$100.

    Did you re-iterate your ads or did you just create one and let it spend $5,000?

  25. 1

    Did you consider pulling the plug before you hit the $5k, or were you tied in to a minimum spend?

    1. 1

      I would have pulled the plug, but it was a $5k min spend 😬.

      1. 6

        That’s a really high barrier to entry from PH. I wonder if that’s because they expect zero repeat business based on this level of ROI and so try to squeeze as much as they can out of advertisers at the first opportunity!?

        1. 2

          Yeah high chance

  26. 1

    Driving traffic to https://nocodechart.xyz/ was a waste of time, reaching out to customers turned out to be the best thing. I'd suggest you to do the same.

  27. 1

    Have you tried to do ABM, is quite more helpful when started. You can get partnerships with job boards, they boost their experience and you win new posible customers

    1. 1

      How can he best do ABM?

      Can you share any experience on this?

  28. 1

    Ouch! For this type of product I think it would be better to spend money on content instead of ads (unless you can afford search ads but I suppose CPCs in this space are quite high).

  29. 1

    Feels like the best place to advertise this kind of products is LinkedIn followed by Google AdWords.

  30. 1

    Wow! That is beyond expensive!
    I think you could achieve something similar with less than $100 on twitter.

    Example: https://twitter.com/CinematicStApp/status/1354103856817438724

    I payed 29 euros so far. It's targeted for engagement, but even targeting it for clicks, I'm sure I could get it at roughly $0.25/click.

    I'm far from an expert, I still have a LOT to learn, but with $5000 on twitter, you could do some serious damage 😁You can do a LOT of A/B testing, and spend only $5-$10 for a campaign, until you optimize it properly

    1. 1

      Wanted to ask you: since it's not possible to make ads on Twitter from Russia, would it be possible if I ask you or someone else to promote a tweet, while I pay you to Paypal or somewhere else?

      Would this scheme work?

      Since I really want to try Twitter out, both for followers growth and product promotion

      1. 2

        Hi,
        I have no idea if this is possible or not.
        My suggestion is to buy a vpn, and emulate being in Europe - or do they care about the card issuer too?

        1. 1

          Yes, they care =( I tried VPN, didn't work

          1. 1

            Yeah, I'm sorry about that, it definitely sucks.

  31. 1

    Sorry to hear about the unfavourable results :(

    Does PH do any kind of targeting for the ads? $20 CPM seems high for an untargeted campaign.

    The unfortunate reality of this type of display campaign is that you’re paying to advertise to people who may not be interested or may not be interested right now. Eg. For resumes, I guess you need to also reach people who are actively job seeking - not so easy.

    Have you been running ads on LinkedIn? If so, curious how the performance compares.

  32. 1

    Thank you so much for sharing, we were considering doing the same but were unsure about the results.

    Question? did you test out the message before? was this an ad that was successful in other places?

    1. 1

      Yep — based on successful Google Ads copy.

  33. 1

    What's the normal rate of paying customer conversions per sign-up? Were you expecting the same from the PH audience?

    1. 1

      It varies by traffic source. We expected a lower conversion rate than organic PH traffic, but not 0.

      1. 1

        Yeah, the 0 conversions almost seems anomalous. Are you planning to give it another shot or was this a one-time thing?

        1. 3

          Yeah, it's weird and unfortunate. We won't try again anytime soon because we've had better results with every other ad channel we have tried.

  34. 1

    Landing page conversion rate is the % of email signups on landing page?

    1. 1

      It's the number of people who clicked a "create resume" button and entered the app.

  35. 0

    @rileyt Hi Riley, are you looking to hire experts. Thank you.

  36. 0

    Honestly? Good.

    I pretty much never even see ads anymore. I’m running every anti-obnoxiousness device I can get my hands on: no ads, no popovers, stuff to kill fixed-position crap, etc.

    Advertisers, and the people who use them, need to understand that most folks don’t appreciate pushy, disrespectful tactics. When ads gets more respectful, people like me might look at them. Until then, I’d say you are, unfortunately, a victim of the ill will towards advertisers.

    That’s not a problem. That’s an incentive to find a less obnoxious way of doing things

  37. -2

    This comment has been voted down. Click to show.

  38. 1

    This comment was deleted 8 months ago.

  39. 1

    This comment was deleted a month ago.

    1. 2

      We're going to try LinkedIn next.

      1. 1

        Given that you are resume related you might have some luck. I have run ads there before with little luck, but that is certainly because my market was not job seekers.

        Good luck, and thanks for the intelligence gathering. I'll buy the consolatory beer should you find yourself in Sweden sometime :-)

      2. 1

        This comment was deleted a month ago.

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